Red Velvet Car
The Heartlinker Red Velvet Car Review
Yes, me too. I have been listening to the tracks for a little while now, so I think I’m ready for a review of my own. Let’s start by saying this album is indeed among the best of Heart. For that it has to be as good as albums like Dreamboat Annie, Dog & Butterfly and Heart. I think it is. *GASP* Is that possible? A good Heart album in 2010? Apparently! Now… those albums I mentioned aren’t my favorite albums. Those are Bad Animals, Brigade and Desire Walks On. Red Velvet Car is one of my new favorites. And this is why:
The album starts with groovy bluesy rocker “There You Go” (7,5/10). It has a funky melody, very catchy. I liked this immediately and it works very good as a first track. A Heart album always starts with an energetic song and this is no exception.
CD case Red Velvet Car (picture of US CD courtesy of Snoqueen)
“WTF” (8/10) is next. One of the first tracks circulating on the web as live recordings and a fan favorite from the start: it features one of the cruelest riffs ever recorded by Heart as well as one of the most haunting lines: “What bridge to cross and what bridge to burn”. The grooviest part of the song for me is the instrumental part in the middle (80 seconds into the song), can’t sit still anymore.
Ann & Nancy thank you! (picture of US CD courtesy of Snoqueen)
Third track on the album is “Red Velvet Car” (9,5/10) and it’s the best track on the disc and I love this one the most. The melody and the arrangement are sublime. Ann sings this just right as she takes us into her Red Velvet Car with her warm voice. I can play this 10 times in a row and still sweep across the room with a big smile on my face. It’s like I’m dancing a waltz (is it in the right rhythm?). Unfortunately it’s too short this title track.
So we have arrived in the Red Velvet Car too soon at track number 4, “Queen City” (7/10), which starts with an acoustic piece I was familiar with, as it was the outro music to Nancy’s Valentine Message from 2009. And it’s a great start to another killer song. However, the Yoho Yoho part is a bit distracting. The last part of this song is so good I wish it could go one for another few minutes. Queen City has some tough competition on this album, so this killer song ranks amongst the last three of the album, together with the already mentioned opening track and one later on this disc.
Red Velvet Car CD (picture of US CD courtesy of Snoqueen)
Track number 5 of this album is one of the best songs ever written and recorded by Nancy Wilson. “Hey You” (9/10) has such a strong melody it’s been dominating my days for weeks now. And not because it’s my ringtone. Could this become the “These Dreams” of this album? Most successful track on the album, but not by Ann? Ah… why not? But let’s see what Red Velvet Car could do as a single! (it better be released as a single).
“Wheels” (9/10) is next and this one blew me over. What a crazy rocking song. That bassline and the way Ann ripps it to shreds, are proof that Heart can record a steaming Heart track with a 2010 stamp on it. Also in this song the instrumental part (starts at 90 seconds into the song) has me jumping in the kitchen.
Lyrics in the booklet (picture of US CD courtesy of Snoqueen)
The seventh song on the album is my least favorite track: “Safronia’s Mark” (7/10) has a melody that could have used some hooks. Ann sings her hair straight, but she can’t make this song more interesting to me. I do like the violin intermezzo on this one a lot. Maybe the studiorecording just didn’t work out well, as the live recording on amazon.com is really a lot better.
There's a poster inside! (picture of US CD courtesy of Snoqueen)
“Death Valley” (8,5/10) is the song I skip to a lot and although it probably won’t please the average fan, it does please me a lot. It reminded me of strange songs like “Devil Delight”, “Strange Nights”, “Bad Animals” ,”Voodoo Doll” and “Rage”. If you don’t like those Heart classics, you’ll probably dislike this song. If you like Ann stretching her muscles, this is a treat. The lyrics really spoke to me and reminded me of the actual place.
“Sunflower” (8) takes it down a notch and throws in some classy arrangements and a very lovingly Nancy. After learning that this is about Ann I listened to this again and I got it. Thanx Nancy for sharing this beautiful melody and message with us.
When “Sand” (8,5) was announced as a Red Velvet Car track, I was afraid that it would take away from the original from 1997. Yes, Ben and the band would surely make another touching recording of this gem, but would they be able to reach the intensity again? And although this has been executed perfectly, I still prefer the 1997 version. However it does not take away… it adds. And knowing that the best melody of The Lovemongers (okay, “Daddy’s War” and “How Beautiful” are that good as well) will be heard by a lot more music lovers makes me proud to be a Heartmonger.
Back of CD case (picture of US CD courtesy of Snoqueen)
Red Velvet Car has exceeded my expectations a lot, but clearly I should have expected Heart to come up with this. I loved Ben’s production on “Hope & Glory” and Ann & Nancy did not have to prove to me again that they write great songs and know how to record them perfectly. I hate being disappointed though, so that must have tempered my hopes. Red Velvet Car does not try to sound like Heart from the ’70s or ‘ 80s. It has the Heart sound of the 21st century and has evolved into a genuine and real piece of great music. If you like Heart’s catalog, you’ll wanna get this album.
Red Velvet car is released on August 31st in the USA.
“Closer to the Sun” (8,5/10) is my favorite bonus-track of the three I’ve heard. I listened to the 30 seconds sample a lot and it cuts off right in the chorus of the ballad. So when I heard that right after the cut-off, Ann let’s it go in such a stunning style, I was sold. (In the US this track is available on iTunes and on the Target limited edition. In Canada and Europe on iTunes and the actual CD). The quality of this song easily matches the best of the other songs on the album. But I understand another ballad would’ve shifted the album off balance. The same argument can be made for “In the Cool” (8/10). This has a catchy melody for a ballad. I prefer the live-versions though, where Ann has forgotten Ben Mink’s requests to tone it down! (In the cool is available in the US, UK and Canada on iTunes and on the Target Limited Edition CD in the US). This song has been a fan favorite since it showed up on the setlist and for a reason: it’s an Ann vehicle. “Bootful of Beer” (7/10) is a party-song with crazy lyrics and a funky feel. It gives me an “Even it Up” feel, without the catchy chorus. I luv Nancy’s intermezzo. (This song is only available on all the CD version’s, except for the US. Also on iTunes everywhere, except in the US). I haven’t been able to listen to “Listening” yet (only on yet to be released Japanese release).